Sunday, July 29, 2007

Selective Concern About "Exploitation"?

I recently saw a documentary that showed great details about how the pyramids and other monuments in Egypt were designed and constructed. I have to give credit to the designers for their ability to precisely architect these complex structures that have labyrinths meant to secure the valuable contents. They were able to do all of this with stone and tools that are privative compared to what we have available today.

The documentary also detailed the ugly side of the construction effort. The spent bodies of the workers who labored ceaselessly to construct the pyramid prior to the ruler's death showed light on the real conditions that existed then. The bones of many of the workers were contorted from years and years of heavy lifting. There were bones that where snapped or sheared by construction accidents according to the archaeologists who investigated the remains.

The Pharaoh was required to have his tomb completed prior to his death to allow him to make it into the "otherside" (ie: heaven). Failing to do so meant that he would be trapped in an undesirable place. Thus to solve this time constraint problem they threw bodies at the problem - more workers meant more heavy stones could be dragged to the top of the structure via a system of ramps. There is no doubt that today - OSHA would not allow this to happen.

How is it then that many of the same people who are today inclined to work as activists against the "exploitation of labor" are able to hold these monuments from a great civilization up as testaments to the achievement of the African and the powerful people from wince we have come from while failing to mention how much of their own principles were violated in the process of constructing these timeless treasures?

We we talk about the founding of this nation - we are quickly reminded that "stolen lands" and "enslaved hands" were used to serve as the backbone of this nation. America is said to have a permanent stain on her belly because of the unthinkable means by which she came to life. No doubt the historical record fully documents these claims. Why though are we to never allow America to forget her EXPLOITATION but the Egyptian laborers who were forced to build these structures that serve as symbols for so many enlightened people have their realties blown away like the nose from the Sphinx?

Is it intellectually honest to inventory the wrongs of your adversaries while gloss over the wrongs of the people that you favor?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Do The Black Poor "Have A Voice"?

Do the Black poor "have a voice" in this country? A woman who was an activist that I overheard on an airplane flight the other day obviously thought not. As she told of her efforts on behalf of the poor in a particular city she told the man sitting next to her, who's ear she commandeered that "I work on behalf of poor Black folks who have no voice in this country. Otherwise the government and corporations would run over them".

To be clear - in listening to this woman's conversation non-stop for over an hour I did not detect a bit of radical anger in her message. She no doubt was truly working in the best interests of these people. I even thought about exchanging contact information with her in order to find out "what makes her tick". I decided not to.

My general feeling, however, is that while her efforts are important she also contributes to the status quo WITHIN the Black community by always working on "their behalf" in the hollowed halls of government rather than positioning them to the point in which they are conscious of the environment around them and they don't need an outsider to come in and "help them".

No doubt in the Civil Rights Era South, in places like Mississippi Blacks were subjugated for so long by a racist system that it in fact did take "outside agitators" to fight against the system and allow these people to exercise their right to vote without fear of violence or retribution by employers. I beg anyone to prove that this is the case today.

Now it is time for the second shoe to drop. Various people have worked hard to make sure that the SYSTEM is not able to actively suppress the dispossessed in these poor Southern towns. There are counter-systems within the hierarchy of government which could check the actions of the lower government as they trample over people. Yet despite this work on their behalf a great amount of disconnectedness remains among this group. When will the activists begin to turn with in and "teach the voiceless how to talk"?

I have always been bothered with the "service project workers" who show up in a community with brooms, trash bags and shovels to clean up a poor and desolate community with the thoughts of cleaning up the environment that the people live in so that the pretty flowers and streets clean of debris will over a bit of hope and sunshine upon these people". The true spirit of these outsider is seen however when you inspect IF THEY LEAVE BEHIND THE BROOMS, SHOVELS AND TRASH BAGS for the PEOPLE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY TO OPERATE WHEN THEY HAVE DEPARTED. You see some people in their works believe that they are getting closer to their God by performing charity, and this is a sound principle which should not be challenged. My God, however, did not intend for an otherwise healthy man to be assumed to be handicapped. In truth many of these people who were working on behalf of their God FAILED to make note of the importance of transferring their value of a clean environment and the good feelings that it brings UPON THE PEOPLE WHO THEY WERE WORKING ON BEHALF OF. Instead they choose to be selfish and self-stimulating of their own good feelings inside.

The fact is that in having failed to leave behind the brooms, shovels and trash bags they have created the conditions by which the high standard by which they have left the community when they departed from their last service project to be but a blip on the time line for the minute after they depart the trash will begin to pile up one discarded item at a time and the weeds will begin to over take the flowers - with no one having been trained how to weed the flower bed. It will take another visit from the outsider to lift the standard of care back up to where it was.

CLEARLY the concept of the STANDARD OF LIVING from these outsiders was IMPOSED upon those that they were working on behalf off rather than any intention to EMPOWER these people but also and more importantly HOLD THEM TO MAINTAINING THE STANDARD so that they too can appreciate the benefits of a clean and blossoming community will bring to the soul.

Thus my criticism of the verbally engaging woman that I heard on the plane is that in her altruism she failed to ask the people she was working on behalf of to change for the better. The subject in this case was about government sterilization of certain "poor and undesirable" people. Last night this problem hit home to me as I ran into a waitress at a sports bar that my friends and I frequent. She was pregnant with her third child on the way. It is clear that she had been struggling previously. To add another mouth to feed to the mix seemed to me to be unthinkable. In my case I apply my own situation and long discussions with my wife about reproductive choices. Despite our ability to afford a third child we do not wish to assume the lifestyle changes and time commitments that such an addition would mandate. Why is it that we, a stable and financial sound Black couple are expected to 'handle our business' and manage our own affairs but SOCIETY seeks to throw out a safety need for this single mother of (soon to be) 3 to continue with her choices despite the burden placed on herself and her children? Activists must learn to shift from working on behalf of people with heavy burdens to working WITH people with burdens to insure that they don't add to them unnecessarily.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ethiopians Decline Immigration To US Upon Seeing "Roots"

Refugees in a camp in Ethiopia have turned down invitations to come to the United States because of images they have seen of this country as shown in the miniseries "Roots". In addition television shows such as "Cops" and news of police shootings have them believing that there is a high risk of being shot by a law enforcement officer.

"People don't want to be sold as slaves in America," refugee Dawit Feliche, 30, explained matter-of-factly in his dank camp hut. Sensing skepticism, he added gravely, "And they don't want to be killed by your police."

Friday, July 20, 2007

If There Is Such A Thing As Being "Too Negative Toward Black People".......

In listening to the local Black talk radio this morning as they debate the Michael Vick situation I can't help but to detect the ideological divide between the "Black Progressives" that dominate the morning show and the "Black Conservatives" who flock toward the afternoon show. One caller this morning stated that the afternoon callers are always "negative toward Black people. They can find nothing good in Black people. They have self hatred". This caller went on to base his central defense of Michael Vick's dog fighting charges on the notion that "the White people are hypocrites and probably fight dogs just as well. They are out to bring down a Black man.

This entire exchange (and several that went on after it) got me to thinking - What is the converse of being to "negative" or "critical of Black people"?

Clearly the answer is being the apologist for Black people who do wrong to a point where you are an enabler in the process at which our community crumbles because you work to be non-judgmental against those who need to be put in check. Their color (and common ideology) prevents you from calling a spade a spade.

The incidents in the world and the resulting discussions show clearly that most issues of debate are nothing more than elements in the PROXY BATTLE between Black And White and also Liberal and Conservative. At the first opportunity the blind defender on one side points out the example of a failing from the other side as a means of showing the hypocrisies of their current stance. In doing this I can't help but to notice that the person who uses this tactic operates from no intrinsic concept of personal standards and beliefs but instead has his belief system as s FUNCTION OF the guy he is debating.

Before entering a battle it is important to do an inventory of what you believe to be right and wrong. When life throws certain challenges at you it is then that you should reference your own beliefs as a means of evaluating these situations. Your judgments upon these others who have operated below your standards should flow from your internal standards. When you adjust your standards based on the conditional subject matter as part of the proxy fight you can end up DEFENDING that which falls below your own standards just for the sake of saving face. You thus have compromised yourself. This is the heart of the "apologist's" unsound footing.

Many people listen to the critical words from the adversary and take a defensive posture. If it was "just between us chickens" they too would be critical of the actions made by the Black man for they fall below the standard that I spoke of earlier. Instead the notion of "you hate your enemies more than you love yourself" kicks in and people are bent and contorted into putting forth arguments of defense that make themselves look like fools and highly disingenuous individuals. They are not even able to write their "laws" down on paper because they always need to be malleable so that it fits the particular subjective conditions of their application. By not committing them to writing they reserve the power over others as those seeking approval by meeting the thresholds that are documented in writing will instead always be inches short of acceptance because the laws that are in the mind of those who refuse to put them down in a fixed form. People who are foolish enough to attempt to win the approval of those with ever changing judgments should allow that person to put a ring in their nose attached to a leash as you have yielded control of your person over to them. They will never be accepting of you until you drop your beliefs and adopt all of theirs. It is nothing more than a mind control game.

There are some Black folks that NEED TO BE CRITICIZED with the hopes that they clean up their act and fly straight. At the same time there are some Black folks who are rogue elements but then also know how the system of judgments work. They will do their dirt and upon general public scrutiny will run back to the Black community that they have been dragging through the mud and ask for protection from outside criticism. Sadly certain operatives within our community will do just that. They are fighting the proxy fight, not considering the evidence of what the offender actually did and if he trampled the Black community standard in the process. Another case of "blind defense".

At the end of the day all of the dirt that is swept under the carpet in our community begins to bulge upward and must be addressed. The long term result of our eroded standards is that Black people who must live in the communities who's environment is crafted from the current base of standards are the ones suffering the most. The pious operators will simply look at the conditions there in and blame it on the OUTSIDERS for allowing it to happen. This is the mark of a psychotic abused individual. First rejecting the general standards of the outsider and then BLAMING THEM for allowing the community to wallow in low standards. It is my view that our community will not change until the BLIND DEFENDERS are purged. They can be purged by holding them accountable for EFFECTIVE RESULTS not just for GOOD INTENTIONS.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"I Know Who Did This To Us" Is Not The Same As "Here Is What We Need To Do To Return To Our Former Glory"

As I engage in debates with various Black people it is clear to me that they operate on the notion of "I Know Who Did This To Us" and "We must never take our eyes off of history lest we return to our former misery".

I would like to make it clear that the notion of "Who did this to us" is separate and distinct from the notion of "Where do we go from here and how do we get there". The first notion focus on history and the documentation of who did what to us as a people and the liability that might be argued is present based on these misdeed. I am in no way dismissing the importance of knowledge of history. In fact I am a voracious consumer of history. This allows me to understand how the world got to its present form in areas far beyond what can be termed "the Black struggle".

Many people who I debate with, however, are fixated on the notions of keeping an eye on certain White people, ideologies (Conservatives) and upon viewing all political gyrations from the lens of historical racism. I am hear to say that "Where do we go from here" is a different conversation.

As I dissect most of the arguments of those who are inclined to disagree with me most of the can be whittled down to "Be vigilant in keeping an eye on White people for they are up to no good and don't have your interests in mind". At the same time many of them work to extend quasi-socialist benefits upon all Americans with the assumption that, for example, having the American government to extend universal health care benefits to all will be one more step in the "correction" of America. One can't miss the connection between their ideological sensibilities and their resentment toward the capitalistic tendency of this great country. If capitalism is "theft and exploitation" then how is government redistribution of "stolen funds" justice?

Lost in this entire movement are detailed logistical discussions about how the Black American is going to secure his own economic standing within this country and/or the world. The basic essentials of a civilization is its ability to feed its people, communicate a productive culture to its progeny to insure their perpetuation and to have some system for conflict resolution and justice. Few of these points are contained within the talking points of the "I Know Who Did This To Us" crowd.

The interesting phenomenon that must be noted is that today any less than stellar result that is obtained within the Black community (academic attainment, employment, crime stats, health stats) will be attributed to the legacy of Slavery and historical racism. Rarely is there an attempt at introspection in which the current set of thoughts that have been ACTIVELY handed down to Black people as being contributors to these performance figures. The tendency is to accept that forces outside of our control are responsible. The question of affirmatively managing the our culture - maintaining what is universally thought to be good and purging what most agree that is harmful is rarely followed through upon as we point to external forces and hope that in advocating for their change (or increase in funding) that our community will see this resulting change.

The Same As "Here Is What We Need To Do To Return To Our Former Glory" is a more directed approach. More engagement of the human resources that are needed to change, playing their part within a system, will need to be executed for this to ever come to be. This is an inherently INTERNAL movement. It is my opinion that in 2007 with the Black man having achieved legal status of equal Americans that we have enough clearing to begin to shift the balance of our focus WITHIN. I see no other possibility of having long term success unless this shift occurs.

Monday, July 09, 2007

School Integration Assumes Black Inferiority

Here is a paragraph from an article from "The Economist" magazine that caught my attention.

It's really about the middle class (Note: this is the title heading of the section from the magazine)

The point often gets lost in debates about school vouchers, choice and the role of competition. At the core of the debate lie competing theories about what disadvantaged students need most. Voucher advocates argue that they need their own money to spend, so that schools will compete over them.

Many voucher opponents, by contrast, believe that what poor (or black) children need most is access to rich (or white) children every day in the classroom, along with all the advantages that affluent and involved parents bring to their children's schools. They favour spending more money on schools and teachers' salaries, but fear that competition from outside the system would undermine integration.

While it is true that this passage represents the author's interpretation of the situation at hand it also ominously articulates the racist foundations of many of the assumptions upon Black schools. Included within this argument is the desire to protect the status quo of the system by many who argue against school choice.

It is clear that many people believe that Black children in racially segregated schools will never be educated properly. This is even the case in Prince Georges County Maryland and Dekalb County Georgia - which are the top 2 ranked majority Black counties in the country. I have not seen these claims about Black school inferiority limited to poverty ridden schools and thus the concept of "racial inferiority" is tip toed through ever so gently.

The passage also indicates that "involved parents" are a critical element. I fail to see how income is a predictor of involvement. If those promoting educational improvements agree with this then we should at least heard this strongly promoted to the parents. No such comments are heard. Their focus is mostly on government policies rather than what the parent and student must do to achieve the state of quality education.

Equally disturbing is the quest by the "Government Operated Schools Industrial Complex" for increased salaries and the elimination of all competition. While such a scenario is good for the teachers union and those who hold power within the system as is (superintendents, principals, etc) does not directly speak to the best interests of the students. I have learned over time that it is a tragic mistake to confuse the interests of the teachers unions with the interests of the students. I am in full support of the teachers unions looking out for the teachers. I have a problem when they pretend to be objective participants in the interests of the students. They are not!

Thus we are lead to conclude that the "rich White kid" is the point of reference that Blacks students should aspire to sit in class with. I keep having the image of the "ubiquitous White kid in the classroom" who insures Black academic proficiency playing the part of the tree stump that is rubbed during Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. In the case of the White kid in the room - at the start of each class period the line of Black kids walking out of the just completed classroom lesson rub their hands on his white skin in order for osmosis of knowledge from his brain to theirs to take place. You might laugh this scenario off but the arguments of many of the school integrationalists does not vary much from this plan.

The segregation prior to Brown V Board that of "Black man you are not allowed to attend our school regardless of where you live" and thus a child who resided with his mother who was a live in housekeeper in a White community STILL could not attend the local school of his residence because of his color. This was segregation meant at maintaining the lower social class of Black folks using the force of government. The segregation of today is a reflection of housing patterns. A Black person living anywhere in the United States is legally allowed to attend the public school to which his legal residence grants him access to. His parents has legal recourse if he was denied admission.

I am opposed to restrictive segregation - this was the case against Black people in this country of the past
I am also not willing to use government to engineer racial outcomes that exceed people's residential free will. White people though not allowed to block a Black family from moving into their community also have the right to choose not to stay once the community begins to "turn". I am living in such a community today. I resolve to keep my own property fully maintained and do my part to ensure that I am not the one who let my community down. I ultimately have no control over what White folks are going to do in the way of their residential living choices. I can insure that my children lift the school's academic averages rather than weigh upon them.

We need to focus on improving Black schools rather than chasing after White folks all of the time.